Birthday parade ideas - oversized car party hat - DIY tutorial - drive by celebration decor - How to make - neon / glow in the dark theme

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Since the whole pandemic we've been part of 4 birthday parades. We've made signs, decorated with balloon garland, banners, and the last one I made a giant party hat!!!
The theme was glow in the dark and for an 18th birthday. We decided on all neon and even had some light up balloons and glow sticks. The party hat DOES NOT glow but since the parade was at 8:00pm it was not completely dark yet. They wanted him to see all the people and the glow sticks to still show up.

I used neon poster board I purchased at Walgreens a while back. 

Cut a triangle template.

Traced the template to make three more triangles - 4 total. 

I used the left over foam boards from the 2020 graduation balloon numbers to piece together the backing or support of the poster board triangles.  

Created 4 foam board triangles.

Attached the poster board to the foam board with double sided tape.

Trimmed any excess foam board that was showing. 

Used the excess poster board to make polka dots.

2 inch lever punch from Michael's craft store. Here is a similar one on Amazon

Hot glued the polka dots in place. I tried alternating colors but I really needed one more color for spacing. Two colors were always side by side. I decided to make all the same color for each triangle instead. 

Used packing taped to temporarily hold in place.


The tape helped hold the pieces in place so I could stand it up.


Once the shape was set, I hot glued the edges together. 

For extra support I used empty wrapping paper rolls to the top and bottom of the triangle from the inside. 
Hot glued in place. 

To create the pom pom on top of the party hat I used eight long Qualatex black onyx balloons and one 5" pearl white Qualatex balloon. You can use any color. I didn't have time to order neon long balloons and had these left over from the graduation non-party. Same with the white 5" balloon. It can be any color.  

I tied a deflated long balloon around the base of the 5" balloon. Make sure it's before the knot to keep it in place. Pulled the ends of the long balloon through the top of the party hat.

I inflated the rest of the long balloons and twisted them in the middle. Making a large balloon pom pom for the top of the party hat. 
Then used the ends of the deflated long balloon to attach the pom pom to the hat.  


We pulled off to the side of the road to attach right before the drive by. I'm not sure how fast you can go and it still stay attached. 

I used bungee cords to hook onto each corner of the hat and hooked the other end inside the truck on the handles. I think I could've attached them together inside the truck with an additional bungee cord.

NOTE:  I think if we have another parade I will just remove the poster board and replace with a different color. Thinking primary colors or pinks & purples. I'll update if we use it again. 

One of my favorite cars! Banner, lights, and signs!!

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SUPER EASY balloon garland tutorial - Birthday parade celebration decorations - Ideas - banner, party hat, light up balloons

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I love these birthday drive by celebrations! We decorated with a super easy balloon garland, oversized party hat, happy birthday banner, light up balloons, and made a balloon bouquet. 


The theme was glow in the dark. These balloons DO NOT GLOW but I went with neon colors since the parade was at 8:00pm and not completely dark yet. They wanted him to see all the people but all the glow sticks to still show up. 

To decorate the truck we purchased these items:
All from Amazon

6 Pack Light Up Balloons- Multi color with different settings

12" neon balloons - I only used pink, yellow, and green.
When I first blew them up they looked very light colored and wasn't sure they looked neon. 
I used a hand pump and just counted 15 pumps for each one. This way they were all about the same size. 

I had these neon water balloons and they matched perfectly with the other neon balloons. 
Tied two balloons together making two sets. Then twisted them together.

I normally use balloon decorating strips to make balloon garland but since this was for outside on a vehicle, I decided to use fishing line. 

I made sure to string each balloon through the lip or edge of the balloon for a stronger hold. 
For the water balloons I made sure to string through all four ends of the balloons. Just in case they came untwisted. 

It was so quick and easy to assemble.

Balloon garland is approximately 6 feet long. I left plenty of extra fishing line on each end so I could spread out the balloons if needed. Just gently slide them down the finishing line. I attached to the truck by tying each end to the anchors inside the truck bed. 

To transport I used small trash bags. I filled one end of the balloon garland in a bag, filled the other end in a bag, and the middle in a bag. It worked out perfectly when we were onsite to decorate. I could set the bags on the ground and only open one bag at a time. I also did this because it started raining and I didn't know if everything was going to fit in the cab of the truck or have to tie it down in the back of the truck. 
It did all fit! Whew!

We used the glow stick kit to make 2 glasses, necklaces, and bracelets. 

These multi colored light up balloons were pretty cool. Three different settings from solid lights on, flashing slowly, or flashing fast.
I like them and I think I can re-use the balloon. The only thing I didn't like was blowing them up. It's hard to know how large it needed to be. At one point it started getting lop sided but I'm not sure if I made it too large or not large enough. I didn't want it to pop so I left it uneven.
Pretty easy to assemble. The lights are on flexible wire so they form to the balloon. 
 We only used 2 but it comes with a set of six. I also did not come with AA batteries. 

Everything fit in the cab and we were ready to head out!

I brought a box of supplies - bungee cords, tape, zip ties, string, fishing line, and scissors. We parked a block away and decorated before getting in line for the parade. 

We also made this 18 balloon bouquet!

We got lots of compliments and the birthday teenager loved it!!

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2020 Graduation mosaic balloon numbers - How to make tutorial and free template - 0, 1, 2, 6, 8 - DIY large party decoration idea

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Virtual graduation viewing set-up. I made 5ft tall 2020 balloon mosaic numbers! 
Same as the 18 birthday and 16 birthday balloons I made recently. 

Step by step instructions on how to print.

UPDATE: To use less paper - don't click CUT MARKS or LABELS when printing.
Some people lose track of how to lay the pages out but if you start horizontal across 4 pages and then start the next row below it. See photo of pages taped. 

I have templates available for 0, 1, 2, 6, 8. Just email me.

Open in Adobe and print as a poster. Change to 500% under tile scale. 
Print in grayscale and in draft mode to save ink.

It takes 3 foam boards for the back or base of the number. 

Measure 6" template and trace for each side piece.

Cut each board into 3 pieces for the sides. 

For each number you need about 7-8 pieces for the sides. Total you will need 6 - 20x30 foam boards. 

Don't forget to use the excess board from the base of the numbers.

For rounded edges, lightly score lines 1" - 1 1/2" apart on a side piece.


Gently press to open up the scored lines.

Be careful not to press too hard.


Attach sides with hot glue or tape.



I ordered all my balloons from Amazon and the foam boards from Dollar Tree. 
I'm a huge fan of Qualatex balloons but couldn't find everything I needed.  

12" Black and Red

Pre-fill balloons the night before and store in a trash bag. 
I have to do this because the balloons will pick up dog hair.

I like to use a hand pump so the balloons are similar for each size.

Arrange some of the balloons for placement before attaching them. 


Attach balloons with glue dots or a low heat glue gun.





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